New York City has set a goal of 100 megawatts of solar capacity on public buildings by 2025. (Adobe Stock)

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January 7, 2021

By Emily Scott

January 6, 2022   

The future of the Build Back Better Act may be in doubt in Congress, but New York labor leaders say the bill would create sustainable union jobs and make key reforms to support working families.

The Build Back Better Act proposes $110 billion to help spur the creation of new clean-energy technology and supply chains, such as solar and batteries.

Christian Gonzalez, organizer for the Industrial Division of the Communication Workers of America (IUE-CWA), said clean-energy jobs would greatly benefit New Yorkers and parts of the state that have seen job loss in the manufacturing sector.

“Schenectady, N.Y., used to have 30,000 workers at GE,” Gonzalez recounted. “So companies like GE have a unique opportunity to bring that work back and create these good, sustaining union jobs that would help reboost the U.S. manufacturing economy as well as New York’s manufacturing economy.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has promised a vote on Build Back Better in the coming weeks, but resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and others has left the timeline up in the air.

Manchin has been a vocal critic of some Build Back Better provisions, such as four-week paid family leave and universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, citing their price tags when he said he cannot support the legislation.

Gonzalez thinks the policies should be seen instead as a major investment in working families.

“You look at New York State and how many essential employees in the pandemic, there isn’t adequate child care,” Gonzalez asserted. “Build Back Better can alleviate some of the tension that comes with not being able to have the medical care and leave you need to be able to provide for a new child or a family member.”

The Build Back Better framework will allow New York to expand access to free, high-quality preschool to nearly 300,000 additional 3- and 4-year-olds per year.

References:  Build Back Better Act House Resolution 5376 2022
N.Y. fact sheet White House Oct. 2021
Solar energy information NYC Office of Climate and Sustainability 2022